I DONT JUST DO ARTWORKS for decoration. Mine are multi-functional. As an example, I have made a lamp shell that also serves as a saving case,” said wood assemblage and visual artist Didier Irimaso. The 22-year-old is currently self-employed and doing original artworks from wood and other different materials. Apart from the lamp shell, he has also assembled a bed that includes drawers and spaces where one can place stuff like vases, candle holders, among others. Irimaso was first introduced to art when he was seven. He used to draw different stuff in his notebooks and on the board whenever his teacher asked him to. In high school, he would also make decorations by using paints whenever the school had an event. A bed that Didier Irimaso has assembled in wood In 2018, he joined Nyundo School of Art to fulfil his dream of becoming an artist – following repetitive knockbacks from his parents who couldnt understand why he was taking the path. He said that reaching there, he was amazed by everything he saw: the paintings, the sculptures and other different forms of artworks that compelled him to use extra hours and deploy his hardworking spirit so that he could learn how to make them. “I wasn’t expecting to become who I am today. I really surprised myself and the capability in me because from there, I became more than an artist,” he said. Irimaso believes that it was his destiny to follow sculpture and ceramic class where he was introduced to wood assemblage art and loved it although he joined the school looking forward to pursuing graphic art. When he completed Senior 5, he started an internship at Intare Gallery which was located in Gisenyi. While there, he completed several artworks including paintings, sculptures and wooden artworks. Throughout his journey, his motivation flourished from senior artists and what icons such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Picasso did. He said they compelled him to walk in their footsteps. One of his portraits reflects Teresa and was inspired by how different and weird the woman looked in the picture. “I loved how she was serious and cherished. I drew it to portray a message that urges people to show off as they are, value themselves hence making other people see value in them,” he said. a lamp shell made by the artist. Since he started making multi-functional artworks, he has been able to earn money and have bought most of the materials he wanted, let alone making important connections. His challenges reflect high cost of materials and insufficient number of clients that do not match the efforts he puts in crafting his artworks. He has however embarked on working professionally and seriously and seeks to create more artworks that portray creativity and innovation as well as cut across various disciplines which he said will show how artworks aren’t only for the rich. He also plans to create an art house which will include various artworks and spaces for people to explore more about art and support fellow artists.